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Scholarship Winner: A Story of Victory Over Porn

Last Updated: July 26, 2021

This story is the winner of the 2021 Kenneth Bowen scholarship. Each year Covenant Eyes awards thousands of scholarship dollars to students who demonstrate a desire to live free of porn.


Under the Divine Gaze

Six years. That is how old I was at my first exposure to pornography. I can hardly remember a time in my life where I was not bound under the relentless yoke of lust. My childhood consisted of hundreds of hours sitting behind a screen, isolating myself from family and friends, and drinking in the images of my fantasies.

Things hardly improved as I got older, especially as I fell away from my faith and found myself fully immersed in the dismal, debauched world of new atheism. I remember sitting in my room on my 18th birthday, the first time that I could “legally” watch pornography, and being completely desensitized to almost everything available to me. Nothing in this world could satisfy me anymore.

These feelings culminated in July 2020, when in the pit of bitter despair, I called out to God for the first time in six years and begged that distant stranger to “take this cup from me.” Pornography was killing me, and I was about to lose my life. This was the turning point. I was determined to fix myself no matter what that meant. Over the next several months I tried out dozens of website blockers and accountability software, but my insatiable craving always found a way around these measures.

In April 2021, I downloaded Covenant Eyes on all of my devices at the recommendation of a close friend, and I set my roommate as my accountability partner. I have never felt so internally motivated to stay away from pornography in my life. Screen Accountability is a true godsend and has been one of the biggest tools in conquering my temptations. Before Covenant Eyes, I could sneak around the accountability software and keep my pornographic escapades a secret. But now, I know that “there is nothing hidden…that will not be known or brought out in the open.”

Every morning, I check my email report and discuss any issues with my roommate. This simple report opens up communication and encourages me to talk about my struggles and temptations. Self-isolation gets defeated every single day. Covenant Eyes also allows me to customize the intensity of website restrictions, which has been essential in gradually learning how to become a responsible Internet user. Finally, I love seeing the little Covenant Eyes notification on my phone. It is a constant reminder that I am not alone and that my actions matter. That small symbol instantly orients my mind to the Creator and His all-encompassing love and presence. It brings me to the knowledge that my life is perpetually under the Divine Gaze.

I cannot wait to see how Covenant Eyes continues to grow and expand to other people. In a world driven by lust, Covenant Eyes is the protector that our society desperately needs, and I hope that I can be an advocate for others to join this movement. God, through the services of Covenant Eyes, has saved and redeemed my life, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Integrated with Integrity

Integrity is “doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” At least, this is what I was always told as a child. This familiar definition was eventually replaced with the mantra “To Thine Own Self Be True.” However, for me, these sayings always missed a greater truth to what it means to have integrity. Integrity is not something that merely happens when one is physically alone, and as a person who has witnessed first-hand how I can lie to myself without even realizing it, I do not even trust myself to hold myself accountable. There is only one true source of accountability who holds truth above all else, for He is truth Himself. Therefore, to have integrity is to be truly and wholly integrated with that great Giver of Truth. What I have learned is that my only hope of conquering my lack of sexual integrity is by addressing the integrity in other areas of my life.

In school, I have always strived to uphold a high level of academic integrity. Even when the courses I took were difficult, cheating was never an option. To do such a thing would be a direct insult to the amazing intelligence with which the Creator endowed me. It would express ingratitude for the gift that I have been so graciously given, and all the while, it would exploit the trust of my peers, teachers, and administrators who work tirelessly to ensure the integrity of my education. Without integrity, all of my grades, awards, certificates, and diplomas would be utterly meaningless. However, the hard part was trying to convince others that this was a worthwhile effort as well. I have had many conversations with people who either compromised or were planning to compromise their academic integrity for some homework, test, or exam.

These people range from virtual strangers to close family, but the standard holds firm no matter who is on the other end of the conversation. Personally, if I am going to take the time and effort to do something, I am going to make sure that I do it with the utmost integrity because at least I can delight in the knowledge that I have done something to the fullest extent to which I was able. In a similar way, I have come to recognize that having social relationships rooted in integrity is key to long-term fulfillment. Admittedly, in the past, I have practiced the exact opposite of integrity in almost all of my relationships. I would change how I acted, dressed, and talked depending on who I was around. My life was a collection of alternating facades, and none of them were my true self. I had no core to my person. Once I started working on my sexual integrity, I soon realized the need to fix how I interact and relate with people. Now, I am happy
to say that I have dozens of close friends who know me better than anyone in my past life.

I talk with my roommate candidly about my depression, anxiety, addiction, and temptations. I confide in my Bible study group about my family issues and seek their support and counsel. I speak openly with my girlfriend about my past failures as a man and the current state of affairs in my life. Integrity runs deeply within all of these relationships. I can finally say that I am known by
others and that I truly know myself.

But there is one who desires to know me most of all. One who craves to be in a relationship with me. Jesus, my Lord and my God. For six years, I closed my life off completely to Him. I wanted nothing to do with Him, and I definitely did not want Him doing anything in my life. However, in July 2020, in all of my brokenness and hopelessness, I prayed to Him this humble prayer: “Lord, if you are there, if you are really listening, I turn my life over to You. Whatever you need me to do, however you need me to do it, I am Yours. Please make me whole.”

That was the single mustard seed of faith that He needed to sprout an entire forest of new life and relationship with Him. I started with small steps like going to church every Sunday and praying for a few minutes every day. Then, I started attending a Bible study group on Mondays.

Following that, I began attending other Bible studies and fellowships throughout the week. I became more and more involved with the community until now, where I am devoting multiple hours every day of the week to grow in my relationship with God. In fact, I had an agnostic acquaintance recently ask, “Do you ever feel like you might be wasting your time doing all of this religious stuff?” I hardly stuttered, “The only reason that I have time, that I have life, that I am here talking with you right now is because of Him. I owe Him every second of my life from this point forward, and that would still not be enough to repay Him for what He did for me.”

I hope my faith never dwindles. I hope that I never resort to merely going through the motions. I want all of my actions and words to be intentional and full of integrity, so my burning love for the Lord can be fanned and grow brighter and hotter than before.

  1. Paul David Masembe

    Awesome testimony, thanks for sharing. Glory to God so much for the truth that sets us free! God bless you so much more.

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